Place:Berne, Albany, New York, United States


Alt namesBernsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS36001922
Coordinates42.617°N 74.133°W
Located inAlbany, New York, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Berne is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. The population was 2,794 at the 2010 census. The town is at the western border of Albany County.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The town of Berne was originally spelled "Bern", until the Berne Post Office was established in 1825. It was created in 1795 from part of the town of Rensselaerville. In 1822 the northern half of Berne was spun off to form the new town of Knox.

The earliest settlers were Palatine German refugees. Settlement began sometime before 1750. At that time, it was called Beaver Dam (also spelled Beaverdam). The settlers were actually squatters, since in the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, Berne was part of the Rensselaerswyck estate. The head of the Van Rensselaer family was the patroon who owned all the land on which the tenants in the Hudson Valley lived, and used feudal leases to maintain control of the region. Before the Revolutionary War, the patroons acted like feudal lords, with the right to make laws.

During the War, inhabitants fought on both sides of the conflict. Loyalists who supported the British left and went to Canada. Those who stayed and fought the British expected that if they won, they would either be released from their tenancy, or at the least, be allowed to purchase the land at fair market value. Instead, the new government of New York decided to honor the lease contracts of the patroons, who contributed heavily to the politicians.

The first meeting of the Town of Rensselaerville (which then included what are now known as the four "Hilltowns") was held in 1790 at the home of Johannes Fischer on Stranahan Lane. He was perhaps the wealthiest man in the town, since he owned eight slaves in 1800. When the town of Bern was created in 1795, the first meeting was also held in the home of Johannes Fisher. It is now known as the Thomas Wood House.

The massacre of the Dietz family in 1781 was the only Iroquois incursion in Beaver Dam during the Revolution.

The first mass meeting of tenant farmers leading to the Anti-Rent War was held in Berne on July 4, 1839. In January 1845, one hundred and fifty delegates from eleven counties assembled in St. Paul's Lutheran Church to call for political action to redress their grievances.

Research Tips

External Links

  • Outstanding guide to Berne family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, town histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.

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